Hyderabad: Describing the Dalit Bandhu scheme as a movement aimed at empowering the downtrodden belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday appealed to people of Telangana not to be jealous (of the beneficiaries) and stand united.
Speaking after unfurling the National flag at Golconda Fort on the 75th Independence Day, the Chief Minister declared Telangana as the ‘new rice bowl of the nation’ with record agricultural output this year. Once a synonym of drought and distress, Telangana registered the highest agricultural produce of 3.4 crore tonnes, the highest in the country. The state which stood second in procurement last year was leading the table this year, he added.
The Chief Minister, while listing out the state’s progress on agriculture, IT, energy and industrial sectors, patted himself, though indirectly, stating that “the unprecedented development is a consequence of continual intellectual acumen and effective planning.”
Referring to his newfound love in Dalit Bandhu, Rao said confidence should be instilled among Dalit community and “iron walls, narrow mindsets built in the name of caste must be knocked down.”
“I designed this scheme with an aim of freeing Dalits from social discrimination by empowering them financially,” he pointed out. “If some part of the body is chopped off, then the entire body will collapse. Likewise, we all should understand that, if we curb the largest community in the country, that country will also collapse (sic),” he said.
The Chief Minister dedicated considerable time in his speech to explain the aims and objectives of the scheme which he would launch in Huzurabad assembly constituency on Monday. The Chief Minister reiterated that none of the existing sops like free rice, pensions and other social benefits would be discontinued to those Dalit families which had been extended the Rs 10 lakh financial assistance.
Maintaining that the scheme would be partially implemented in all the constituencies, Rao said an effective monitoring mechanism would be put in place to ensure that the ultimate goal of empowerment was achieved. With Huzurabad by-polls round the corner, the Chief Minister added a bit of political colour to his speech referring to his government as the TRS government on several occasions.
The Chief Minister also recalled how Telangana went on to become a wealthy state post-2014 with doubling of Gross State Domestic Product from Rs 4.5 lakh crore to Rs 9.8 lakh crore and per capita income crossing the national average. “We are going to be a power surplus state soon,” he said.
The Chief Minister claimed that Covid pandemic was under control in the state but cautioned people to take all precautions in the wake of experts warning about the third wave. The Independence Day celebrations at Golconda were restricted mostly to the Chief Minister hoisting the Tricolour and his speech and the traditional cultural programmes, parade of tableaux were missing.